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Cash Drawer Buying Guide

If you are unsure as to what type of cash drawer to purchase, this buying guide will help you.

Cash drawers are the heart of any POS system. And often times they are overlooked because they are considered a non-intelligent device...meaning it has no computer chips, it only opens and closes.  However, cash drawers are very important, and one should think about what type of cash drawer one needs before purchasing.  We have seen many times where a business owner purchases a cash drawer that was not made to perform the tasks it was installed to do; then the cash drawer fails, and the business owner gets frustrated, mad and feels as though he/she has just wasted good money on a product that didn’t last. We definitely don’t want that happening to you, and that’s why we compiled this buying guide to help you.

open cash drawerMost cash drawers are “receipt printer driven”.  This term means that an RJ cable (that looks like a phone cable) connects your receipt printer to your cash drawer. Cash drawers can also have serial, parallel, USB and wireless interfaces; however, these are very rare, and are generally required only if for some reason there is no receipt printer or there is no way to connect the cash drawer to the receipt printer.  Chances are you will need a “receipt printer driver” cash drawer, most folks do.

At POSCatch.com we have 3 simple rules to follow when it comes to buying cash drawers. We tried to make this easy to understand so you can purchase what you need quickly and get back to running your business instead of wasting time researching the boring subject of cash drawers.

1. If you have a low volume business where the cash drawer will get light use throughout the day, then you should be fine purchasing a cash drawer from the $60 to $100 price range. Please note that these cash drawers are smaller in size, so pay attention to the size of the cash drawer before you buy. If these lower cost cash drawers are too small, then you will have to move up the price ladder.

2. If you know your cash drawer will get medium usage because you only serve a few customers at a time and maybe you might have 1 or 2 small rushes during the day, then a cash drawer priced from $105 to $150 should work for you.

3. If you know you will be busy for most of the day, and the cash drawer will be opened repeatedly, then you will need a high end cash drawer. A cash drawer from $160 to $200+ will work for you.

Fairly easy to understand, right?  Also, please keep in mind that the 3 examples above are general recommendations.  There are some other things to consider that we will cover briefly.

Remember MEDIA SLOTS. Media slots are the slits in the front of the cash drawer that allow you to insert checks, etc into the cash drawer for storage.  The more media slots you have the more compartments you have. So, for example, 1 media slot will dump all of the checks, etc in together under the tray; there are no compartments. If the cash drawers has 2 media slots, then there are 2 compartments and so on it goes.  So if you need to separate any checks from other media that you store in your cash drawer, you will want a cash drawer with at least 2 media slots.

Stainless steel front versus painted front. A cash drawer with a brushed stainless front will not perform better than a cash drawer with a painted front; it is all really about aesthetics. However, we generally like to recommend the brushed stainless steel fronts for 2 reasons:

1. We think they just look nicer.  
2. And we believe they will hide the scratches better over time.

One last thing....there are MANUAL CASH DRAWERS. These are cash drawers that are not electronically opened in anyway. They do not connect to a receipt printer, computer or fancy iPad. You can only open a manual cash drawer by people power...you push a button and it opens. It is not recommended to get a manual cash drawer for your business.  However, they do serve a purpose in certain circumstances. Say you want to have a small cash drawer to use at an annual bake sale or at a flea mart, then a manual cash drawer would be the one of choice for those types of selling environments.  

And by the way, we are very thankful you decided to shop with us. You are the best!